1958 Colts

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Transcript of 1958 Colts

  • C7| BASUNDAY, DECEMBER 28 , 2008C6 BA | SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28 , 2008


    Colts OffensePos. Name Hall of Fame StatusWR Raymond Berry 1973 Lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn.LT Jim Parker 1973 Died July 18, 2005 at 71LG Art Spinney N/A Died May 27, 1994 at 66C Buzz Nutter N/A Died April 12, 2008 at 77RG Alex Sandusky N/A Lives in Key West, Fla.RT George Preas N/A Died Feb. 24, 2007QB Johnny Unitas 1979 Died Sept. 11, 2002TE Jim Mutscheller N/A Insurance executive in Hunt ValleyHB L.G. Dupre N/A Died Aug. 9, 2001 at 68HB Lenny Moore 1975 Lives in RandallstownFB Alan Ameche N/A Died Aug. 8, 1988 at 55

    Colts DefensePos. Name Hall of Fame StatusDE Gino Marchetti 1969 Lives in Westchester, Pa.DT Art Donovan 1968 Run a country club in TowsonDT Gene Lipscomb N/A Died May 10, 1963 at 31DE Don Joyce N/A Turned 79 on Oct. 8LB Don Shinnick N/A Died Jan. 20, 2004 at 68LB Bill Pellington N/A Died April 27, 1994 at 66LB Leo Sanford N/A Lives in Shreveport, La.CB Milt Davis N/A Died Sept. 29, 2008 at 79CB Carl Taseff N/A Died Feb. 27, 2005 at 76S Ray Brown N/A Retired and lives in MarylandS Andy Nelson N/A Runs BBQ business in Cockeysville

    Giants OffensePos. Name Hall of Fame StatusWR Kyle Rote N/A Died Aug. 12, 2002 at 73LT Roosevelt Brown 1975 Died June 9, 2004 at 71LG Al Barry N/A Turned 78 on WednesdayC Ray Wietecha N/A Died Dec. 14, 2002 at 74RG Bob Mischak N/A Turned 76 on Oct. 25RT Frank Youso N/A Turned 71 on July 5WR Bob Schnelker N/A Turned 80 on Oct. 17QB Charlie Conerly N/A Died Feb. 13, 1996 at 74RB Frank Gifford 1977 Works in broadcasting in New YorkHB Alex Webster N/A Is 77 and battling emphysema and lung cancerFB Mel Triplett N/A Died July 26, 2002 at 70

    Giants DefensePos. Name Hall of Fame StatusDE Jim Katcavage N/A Died Feb. 20, 1995 at 60DT Roosevelt Grier N/A Is an actor, minister and community activistDT Dick Modzelewski N/A Retired in 1990 after 23-year coaching careerDE Andy Robustelli 1971 Turned 83 on Dec. 6LB Cliff Livingston N/A Turned 78 on July 2LB Sam Huff 1982 Broadcaster for Redskins radio networkLB Harland Svare N/A Works as an athletic trainerCB Carl Karilivacz N/A Died in 1969 at 39CB Lindon Crow N/A Is 75 and retiredS Jim Patton N/A Died Dec. 22, 1973 at 40S Emlen Tunnell 1967 Died July 22, 1975 at 53

    ByRon SnyderExaminer StaffWriter

    Lenny Moore thought the gamewas over 17-17, a tie for the cham-pionship.

    Sam Huff was ready to split the$372,310 in player prize money.

    Frank Gifford was just tired.But there was more football to

    be played in the 1958 championshipgame in front of 64,185 at YankeeStadium in the first and still only sudden-death overtime title gamein NFL history.

    Once we got to the end of regula-tion no one knewwhatwas happening,Moore said. We thought we wouldjust go to the locker room, and its atie. Not even the referees knew exactlywhat to do.

    The Colts led 14-3 in the thirdquarter when they drove down to theGiants 1-yard line, but came up emptywhen Ameche got stopped for a four-yard loss on fourth down.

    That play wasnt supposed tobe a run, Colts defensive end GinoMarchetti said. It was designed tobe a halfback option from Amecheto [tight end] Jim Mutscheller. Hewas wide open in the end zone, butAmeche didnt hear the call. Had he[thrown] that pass, the game wouldhave been over.

    Instead, the Giants used themomentum to score two touchdownsto take a 17-14 lead early in the fourthquarter. Charlie Conerlys 15-yardpass to Gifford gave the home team

    the lead.Stopping Ameche on fourth-

    and-goal was when the game gotinteresting, Gifford said. That wasthe best defense we played all day.

    The score remained the same lateinto the fourth quarter, when theGiants faced a third-and-four fromtheir 40-yard line with 2:40 remain-ing. Conerly handed off to Gifford,who made a sharp cut to his right andwas met by Marchetti as he crossedthe line of scrimmage. Marchettithrew Gifford to the ground, butduring the play, 6-foot-6, 285-pounddefensive tackle Gene Big DaddyLipscomb fell on Marchettis rightankle and broke it.

    The future Hall of Famer wascarted off the field in a stretcher andwatched the rest of the game from thesidelines.

    But Marchetti has done his job:Referee Ron Gibbs placed the ballshort of the first down, and theGiants punted.

    If we had replay back then, wewouldnt be standing here talkingabout the game, Gifford said. Thegame would have been over.

    Thats not true. ESPN proved Gif-fords assertion wrong when askedtraffic-accident reconstructionist JeffMuttart to determine the exact spotof the ball using the same technologyto re-enact car crashes.

    The result: Gifford was nineinches short.

    I knew it when I was lying there,Marchetti said. [Gifford has] told

    me many times he got the first down,but I just keep asking him, Whos gotthe ring?

    Then, it was all up to Johnny Uni-tas.

    Starting from theBaltimore 14, TheGoldenArmdrove rightdown thefield,connecting with receiver RaymondBerry for three of his 12 receptions toposition Steve Myhra, who made just4-of-10 field goals on the year, to tie thegame with a 20-yard field goal withseven seconds remaining.

    Webasically invented the two-min-ute drill that day, Berry said.

    In overtime, the Giants won thecoin toss but managed nine yardsbefore punting.

    Unitas quickly drove the Coltsdown to the Giants 8-yard line butnever considered going for a field goal.And it wasnt because the Colts 31/2- to 5 1/2-point favorites neededa touchdown to cover the spread, asowner Carroll Rosenbloom had beenknown to bet on his team.

    We didnt trust Myhra, Mooresaid. We felt like the only way to winthe game was score a touchdown.

    Two plays later, the prayers ofMoore, who kept a Bible tucked in histhigh pads, were answered, as runningback Alan Ameche plowed into theend zone from three feet away.

    Fans stormed the field, but therewere no fireworks or extravagantpostgame ceremonies like after theSuper Bowl today.

    Most of our wives were at homepacked and ready to go after the

    game, Gifford said. Unlike the Bal-timore players, most of the Giantslived outside of New York. Most justwanted to get out of town that night orthe next day right after the game.

    When the Colts returned to Bal-timore, they were greeted by about30,000 fans, many of whom swarmedthe team bus at Friendship Airport.Marchetti witnessed the chaotic scene

    from a nearby ambulance, which wastransporting him to a hospital.

    I thought someone was going todie that day, Marchetti said. It wasunbelievable. They just wanted to seeus and thank us. Baltimore used to bejust a stop between Philadelphia andWashington. Now, it was home to theworld champions.

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    Missed chances, goal-line stand set the stage


    With a block from Lenny Moore, Alan Ameche runs into the end zone to cap The Greatest Game Ever Played.


    Thirty thousand fans arrived at Friendship Airport to welcome their heroes home.

    ByRon SnyderExaminer StaffWriter

    At the time, Raymond Berrycouldnt understand how a footballgame could make a man cry.

    The Colts receiver was leavingYankee Stadium after his teams vic-tory over the Giants in the 1958 NFLtitle game when he saw tears rollingdown the cheeks of then-Commis-sioner Bert Bell.

    I wonder what chord had beenstruck in Bert Bell? he thought, ashe headed to the team bus 50 yearsago today. When you have tears inyou eyes, thats pretty strong.

    Berry didnt realize how stronguntil years later.

    Without the Colts and Giants com-peting in what has become know asThe Greatest Game Ever Played, theNFLwouldnt have evolved into the 32-team, $7 billion industry it is today.

    It wouldnt be the countrys most-watched sport.

    It wouldnt have nine-figure nationaltelevision contracts.

    It would still be behind baseballand college football in the hierarchyof sports coverage.

    But on Dec. 28, 1958, inside a Yan-kee Stadium that wasnt even filledto capacity, Alan Ameches 1-yardtouchdown run changed the Ameri-can publics perception of the NationalFootball League.

    The game being played in NewYork, the media capital of the world,helped the game garner a lot moreattention, said BobWolff, who calledthe television play-by-play. It wouldnthave been the same if it had beenplayed in Cleveland or Baltimore.

    By 1961, there were 22 professionalfootball teams, including eight in theupstart American Football League.Lamar Hunt, with his Texas oil money,formed the AFL after watchingwitha then-record 50million other viewers the 1958 title game on television.The AFL and NFL eventually signedlucrative television contracts and gotinto a bidding war over players beforemerging in 1967.

    I have to believe [Bell] understoodthe tremendous significance of whathappened to this league that he hadbeen nursing along, Berry said. Hewas probably one of the few peoplethere who really understood it.

    The players certainly did not.To theGiants and the Colts, winning

    the game wasnt just about braggingrights: It was an opportunity tomake alittle extramoney at a time when play-ers only earned between $10,000 and$20,000 a year. The winners picked upan extra $4,718.77; the losers received$3,111.33.

    It started gaining popularity afterthat, former Colts running backLenny Moore said. The NFL is whatit is today because of that game.

    Fifty years later, the players arentsure if a game that featured seventurnovers can be called The GreatestGame Ever Played.

    No one in that game thought whathappened there would have the linger-ing impact it has had, former Giantskicker and long-time broadcaster PatSummerall said. It wasnt the great-est game ever played, but it might havebeen the most important.

    The game had 17 future Hall-of-Fame members, including some ofthe sports all-time grea